General Motors is planning to open a third shift at its assembly plant in Arlington, Texas. By doing so, around 800 jobs will be added. This plant produces the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade SUVs. Workers on the two shifts of the plant have had to work overtime frequently since 2009 just to cope with demand.
Adding a third shift will lessen the workers’ burden while enabling the company to raise production as it readies the plant to roll out the next generation of GM's full-sized SUVs. In a statement, Larry Zahner, GM North America's manufacturing manager, said that amid the unsure economy and the volatility of gas prices, the company had to be careful and mostly relied on overtime during the last few years.
He said that the company decided to open a third shift after it saw that the segment has stabilized enough. It also makes the plant more flexible to the possibility of more demand with the introduction of new trucks. GM wants this new shift to start during the first quarter of 2013. GM will begin hiring during the last quarter of 2012. In the first five months of the year, the demand in the U.S. for the SUVs at Arlington has been mixed.
The Automotive News Data Center said that from January to May, GM has sold 17,932 Suburbans, higher by 18%, and 26,847 Tahoes, lower by 6%. Meanwhile, the total light-vehicle sales in the U.S. for the same period have risen by 13%. The Arlington Assembly plant has around 2,500 hourly and salaried employees. Nearly 270,000 vehicles were built at the plant last year.